B&W film is over!

west norwood cemetery
West Norwood Cemetery

The above photo is one of my favourites from my most recent wander around West Norwood Cemetery; I just love how the fallen cross contrasts against the dark tree, which is so much older and yet so much stronger than the man-made object that it’s juxtaposed with.

I have still only visited two of the Magnificent Seven – West Norwood and Nunhead. Last year I had a very loose project to photograph all 7, and to emphasise the connection of life and death, nature’s never-ending life cycle, and the insignificance of man, with my photography. However, the project never really got off the ground.

When I attempted to begin the project at the start of 2018, I was determined to shoot the project on film, but I never found a film that seemed right for the purpose. Then, as spring came along, I gravitated more towards the flowers that I so love to photograph. Maybe the same will happen to my Magnificent 7 project this year, but I feel that after the last few weeks of cemetery shooting, I am starting on a more solid foundation than before, so I am more likely to keep at it. And I have decided that I will no longer be using film photography for this project.

Using my Panasonic Lumix GX7 again after a brief hiatus has really been eye-opening. Its black and white preset, paired with my Helios lens, has been giving me exactly the look I’ve been after, so it no longer makes sense (to me) to shoot this project on film, especially when I have little experience with black and white film.

In addition, I haven’t really felt like shooting any film lately; I seem to have lost my patience with it, or maybe because it feels like there is not much colour in the world right now (colour film photography is my jam). In winter, I have always tended towards b&w, and my GX7 is just perfect for that. I still love my Nikon FM, but lifting it up no longer brings me joy (a little KonMari reference in there for you since she’s so on trend at the moment!). As for my Yashica, I need to buy a light meter to use with it, but have not even started looking. The GX7 is enough for now!

I’m sure that once the blossoms start coming out, I will end up shooting film again. In fact, I’m already looking forward to all the cherry blossoms coming to life in Kew Gardens, and have already decided which films I’m going to use on them! If you couldn’t tell, I adore colour film over digital colour, particularly films like Lomochrome Purple, Kodak Portra 160, Kodak Ektar, and Fuji C200 (in fact I have 20 rolls of the latter in the fridge right now!).

So, most likely, I will learn C-41 developing this spring/summer because that’s when I’ll probably have lots of rolls to process! In my humble opinion, it really doesn’t make sense for me to learn b&w processing!

So make sure you stick around so you can follow me on these new adventures – finally giving my Life After Death project a kick-start, and learning C-41 developing (probably)! 🙂

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram, and even on Lomography now! You can also follow me on Twitter. And then there’s also my very under-promoted Zazzle store that I keep forgetting I have! Grab yourself a phone case featuring one of my images 🙂

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Welcome to the family!

After the enjoyable time I had with my Panasonic GX7 the other week, which I blogged about here, I decided to purchase one more lens for it: the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7II ASPH.

I love my Helios, but it’s quite long (equivalent to 116mm on my GX7’s Micro Four Thirds sensor), so I wanted something with a wider field of view, but that was also of higher quality, and that had a much wider maximum aperture, than my Olympus 15mm f8 body cap lens.

I ended up ordering the silver version from Jessops. They had the black one in stock, but I really felt that the silver one would complement my silver and black GX7 much better. Also, I like a bit of bling.

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So far I am really pleased with this new lens. It seems pretty sharp and I love its smooth bokeh, although obviously it will never replace my Helios 🙂

Autofocus is fairly quick too and almost silent; not that AF means much to me as I mostly photograph stationary objects anyway!

The below images are all straight out of my GX7, shot with my 20mm; what a great pair!

kew gardens
kew gardens
kew gardens
kew gardens

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram, and even on Lomography now! You can also follow me on Twitter. And then there’s also my very under-promoted Zazzle store that I keep forgetting I have! Grab yourself a phone case featuring one of my images 🙂

Nunhead Cemetery

Last Sunday I headed over to Nunhead Cemetery, one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries of London, with my Panasonic Lumix GX7 and Helios-44M-4 58mm f2 lens (duh. When do I ever not shoot this combo?!).

nunhead cemetery

After getting back some disappointing negatives from my previous trip to another one of the Magnificent Seven, West Norwood, I didn’t really feel like shooting any film. I had never taken my GX7 on one of my (admittedly infrequent) cemetery walks before, and as I’m a big fan of its b&w presets, particularly combined with my Helios lens, I decided it was time to change that.

nunhead cemetery

Within a few minutes of arriving at Nunhead, I knew I had made the right decision. With just a click of the shutter button, I was getting the imagery I’d been aiming for previously with my film cameras. Oh, some might say it’s too easy this way, but sometimes the easiest solution is actually the best one!

nunhead cemetery

I loved the contrast, tones and detail I was getting straight-out-of-camera, and I was enjoying the whole experience of being able to see what I was capturing before I captured it, after months of using my film cameras 99% of the time. Despite this, I still shot slowly and methodically – film photography has taught me patience! – and almost every single photo I took was a keeper (in my eyes).

nunhead cemetery

I also felt strangely peaceful, walking amongst the forgotten graves, long neglected by people and overcome by nature… just me and my camera, enjoying the stillness and quietness. It might have been damp (I actually got rained on!), muddy, and freezing cold, but I loved my walk through Nunhead’s beautiful cemetery.

nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery
nunhead cemetery

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram, and even on Lomography now! You can also follow me on Twitter. And then there’s also my very under-promoted Zazzle store that I keep forgetting I have! Grab yourself a phone case featuring one of my images 🙂

Disappointing!

a little fungi (3)
Fuji Provia 100F with Nikon FM and 50mm f1.8 Series E lens + warming filter

I finally got last week’s film back from the lab! I did not use FilmDev this time as they don’t do E6 processing, so I decided to send a roll of 35mm Provia and 4 120 rolls of FP4 off to a different lab. I opted to go for process only so I could scan in myself. Big mistake…. apparently I really hate scanning negative film (this was my 2nd time attempting it as well so now I know for sure), so *puff!* there goes my plans to start developing film myself.

The roll of Provia came out great (although I’m a bit “meh” about the actual images), the 120 rolls from my Yashica not so much…. I may look into getting a battery for the meter, but apparently the one you have to use now (because the native one is no longer available) doesn’t last long and you have to adjust the exposure by a stop to compensate for a slightly different voltage. So it’s either that or the Sunny 16 rule next time! The app I have been using is just not working out. Either that or the lab messed up but of course there’s no way to tell!

For now, I will stick to using my FM, as I have way more 35mm film than 120 film to shoot anyway, and my FM’s meter is incredibly reliable (although lately had problems with it suddenly not working, but I think that’s because it was a cold day), so any crap shots are 100% down to me 🙂

I should probably get it CLA’d sooner rather than later anyway.

a little fungi (2)

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram, and even on Lomography now! You can also follow me on Twitter. And then there’s also my very under-promoted Zazzle store that I keep forgetting I have! Grab yourself a phone case featuring one of my images 🙂

Happy Caturday!

Turns out I hadn’t used my Panasonic Lumix GX7 since NOVEMBER, except for one solitary non-image I took with it on Boxing Day. I decided to remedy the situation very quickly this afternoon, so here’s a long overdue portrait of my gorgeous Mo!

Happy Caturday!
Doesn’t he have the best face?!

I shot this using the Dynamic Monochrome preset (which should come as no surprise to those of you who know how much I love this camera and that preset!) and then did some adjustments to exposure, contrast and clarity in the stock Windows 10 Photos app.

It was quite nice holding Lumey in my hands again, maybe I’ll take her out for a little spin tomorrow. There are some gorgeous purple flowers blooming across the road that I would love to capture with my Helios lens!

Lately I’ve been shooting a lot of film, and currently have 8 rolls to send off (6 b&w 120 rolls, 1 Portra 800 in 120, and 1 Provia 100F in 35mm). Hopefully I’ll be able to get those developed soon and will be able to share with you in the next couple of weeks.

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram, and feel free to follow me on Twitter!

My favourite photos of 2018

Now that 2018 has drawn to a close, I have been looking back at the images I created last year, to remind myself of what I’ve learned and of what I hope to achieve in future.

More than anything, I am struck by how much I prefer my film images to those shot on digital. I don’t know why, but whenever I process my digital photos, I end up with a brighter and more saturated look, but I actually prefer the more understated and natural tones of film.

Callicarpa americana
For The Love Of Roses - Nikon FM - Fuji Reala 100
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I enjoy shooting film the most, and yes sometimes I go through a “digital phase”, but when I come out on the other side, the film images are the ones that resonate most with me. Perhaps it’s because they take more effort for me to make. Patience is not one of my virtues, but film forces me to slow down and think more about what I’m doing, so when the images come out as I’d hoped, my achievement feels greater.

And yes, I am consistently drawn to photographing flowers and other forms of nature. I used to think this was a bad thing, but then I realised, I’m not doing photography to please anyone other than myself. Photography helps me to escape into nature, and I never want that to change. If anything, I want to get much better at nature photography. 

I also want to master Lomochrome Purple.

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The Aquatic Garden
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This film is just so beautiful, I love it. I have learned, quite by accident, that it loves light; it definitely needs to be shot at EI 50 or 100. But the best thing about it is that Lomochrome Purple makes me shoot film even more slowly, because I have to think more about what it will do to the natural colours in front of me, a bit like when shooting black and white film and using various colour filters.

Rudbeckia - Nikon FM - Fuji Acros 100
Alone - Nikon FM - Fuji Acros 100
Dark Roses - Nikon FM - Kodak Tri-X 400

Shooting black and white film this year during my Month of Film project was a bit of a revelation. I had not shot much of it before, and playing around with different filters finally gave me the tones and contrast I had always previously failed to get with b&w. However, it’s still not something I see myself shooting particularly often, although I am pondering doing a whole month of black and white sometime in 2019….

Maybe one day I’ll get around to developing my own black and white film as well, although I’m more likely to use a monobath rather than the traditional film developing kit! I live by myself now, so using my bathroom as a darkroom would be a little easier. However, I definitely have other things I want to prioritise over photography, so doubt I would have the time!

And here are a few more faves from the year….

The Regal Iris
Roses
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A Rose
The Iris and the Allium

Yes, I have a thing for irises and roses 🙂

So, in 2019, of course I will be shooting even more film, using my Nikon FM and Yashica-Mat 124G 🙂

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram. You can also follow me on Twitter. And then there’s also my very under-promoted Zazzle store that I keep forgetting I have! Grab yourself a phone case featuring one of my images 🙂

My Best Nine

Once again, the Best Nine of the Year Instagram thingy is making the rounds again. I thought it would be a nice idea to do a blog post about mine, which were all shot on either Lomochrome Purple or Velvia 50.

Next year I will definitely be continuing my love affair with film, and definitely Purple and Velvia specifically!

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Oops... #1
Life's a Birch
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Why don't you make like a tree
View from a pond
Oops... #2
Davies Alpine House

I am really in love with these 9 photos 🙂 and these two films! Unfortunately I have not shot much of them this year because they’re either never available (Lomochrome Purple) or super expensive (both!).

However, I think once I’m done with my massive stash of film, Purple and Velvia 50 will both become two of my go-tos, along with Portra, Ektar (my poor wallet), and C200 (and the “Poundland film” if I ever find any again).

You can find more of my images on my Flickr and Instagram. You can also follow me on Twitter. And then there’s also my very under-promoted Zazzle store that I keep forgetting I have! Grab yourself a phone case featuring one of my images 🙂